Eurasia This Week: March 25, 2021

March 25, 2021

Your weekly roundup of news and analysis of elections in Eurasia, usually posted on Thursdays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.

Train station in Novosibirsk, Russia, in southwestern Siberia. Novosibirsk was one of the cities where opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s “Smart Vote” tactical voting plan produced victories against Putin’s United Russia. Photo credit: Wikimedia/oskar karlin (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Upcoming Eurasia Elections

Kyrgyzstan Local Elections and Constitutional Referendum: April 11, 2021 and Parliamentary Elections Re-Run: Fall 2021 (proposed)

Kyrgyzstan holds local elections on April 11, along with a constitutional referendum, following political turmoil in October 2020 and a snap presidential election in January 2021. The political climate was tense heading into the October 2020 parliamentary elections. It subsequently exploded following said elections. More

Colleen Wood, The Diplomat (March 26, 2021): Local council elections a big test for Kyrgyzstan’s 2019 gender quota law

Erica Marat, Brussels Times (March 23, 2021): The EU must not stand by as democracy collapses in Central Asia

Elena Rodina, Committee to Protect Journalists (March 23, 2021): Kyrgyz journalists on the online ‘fake farms’ that threaten to kill them

Catherine Putz, The Diplomat (March 22, 2021): Concerns swirl around Kyrgyzstan’s draft constitution: presidential power, judicial independence, and civil society

Uzbekistan Presidential Election: October 24, 2021

Uzbekistan is holding a presidential election on October 24, 2021. Elections in Uzbekistan are neither free nor fair, and political opposition is not able to operate freely in the country. More

Bruce Pannier, RFE/RL (March 24, 2021): New Uzbek opposition party runs into the same wall as its predecessors

Armenia Snap Parliamentary Elections: June 20, 2021

Armenia is holding snap parliamentary elections on June 20 in an effort to defuse a political crisis following a defeat in the recent Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Paul Stronski, World Politics Review (March 26, 2021): Armenia needs more than snap elections to resolve its political divisions

AFP/Euronews (March 24, 2021): Armenia’s parliament votes to lift martial law ahead of June elections 

RFE/RL (March 24, 2021): Armenian PM calls For changes to electoral system ahead of snap polls

Russia Parliamentary Elections: By September 19, 2021

Russia is due to hold parliamentary elections by September 19, 2021. Russian elections are neither free nor fair. Nonetheless, the opposition has been making some gains in recent regional elections, helped by opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s “Smart Vote,” a campaign of tactical voting, in which they developed a list of candidates the best chance of beating Vladimir Putin’s United Russia. More

Meduza (March 26, 2021): A new strategy for Moscow: During this year’s State Duma race, Russia’s ruling party hopes to split the opposition, deceive inattentive voters, and (as always) mobilize state employees

Henry Foy and Max Seddon, Financial Times (March 25, 2021): Navalny accuses Russian prison guards of ‘abuse’

Roland Oliphant, The Telegraph (March 24, 2021): Inside Team Navalny’s battle to free Putin critic as they threaten to launch nationwide protests

Matthew Luxmoore, RFE/RL (March 23, 2021): In Russia’s provinces, Navalny’s besieged movement says it’s ‘again gathering force’

Vladimir Isachenkov, AP (March 23, 2021): Navalny’s allies call for major protest across Russia

Alexander Vindman and Garry Kasparov, Washington Post (March 22, 2021): Opinion: In Russia, it’s not Navalny vs. Putin. It’s democracy vs. authoritarianism.

Past Eurasia Elections

Georgia Parliamentary Runoffs: November 21, 2020

Georgia held parliamentary elections on October 31 and November 21, 2020 in a climate of political tension, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic fallout. Tensions have exploded into a full-blown political crisis. More (March 25, 2021): Ruling party will not consider holding repeat elections, release of opposition leader Melia at next EU-mediated talks

Joshua Kucera, Eurasianet (March 24, 2021): U.S. Senate weighs American response to Georgia’s political crisis

Vlagyiszlav Makszimov, Euractiv (March 23, 2021): EU envoy heads back to Georgia to continue mediation (March 20, 2021): Opposition warns disobedience, large-scale rally on May 15

Moldova Presidential Runoff: November 15, 2020

Moldova a presidential election in November 2020. Pro-Europe center-right former Prime Minister Maia Sandu trounced pro-Kremlin leftist Igor Dodon, who had been the incumbent. However, no party has a clear majority in parliament (and Sandu’s allies are outnumbered by pro-Russian parties), leading to political instability and the constant possibility of snap elections. More

Madalin Necsutu, Balkan Insight (March 25, 2021): Moldova parliament rejects proposed PM, bringing elections nearer

Belarus Presidential Election: August 9, 2020

Belarus held a presidential election on August 9, 2020. In a vote widely deemed not free and not fair, incumbent Alexander Lukashenko declared victory. However, the opposition declared that Svetlana Tikhanovskaya had in fact won. Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have taken to the streets in protest to demand free and fair elections, even in the face of assault and arrest by security forces. Protests continue. More

Reuters (March 25, 2021): Dozens detained as Belarus marks ‘Freedom Day’ with new protests

RFE/RL (March 25, 2021): U.S. calls for release of all political prisoners in Belarus

Lucian Kim, NPR (March 24, 2021): From exile, Tikhanovskaya calls for ‘2nd wave of protests’ against Belarus regime

DW (March 24, 2021): Belarus: UN to probe torture allegations during protest crackdown

Diana Magnay, Sky News (March 24, 2021): ‘Not your typical inmate’ – The inspiring Belarus political prisoner who even the guards respect

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